LEAP Innovations and Mozilla's Hive Chicago Learning Network Host Chicago Education Innovation "Pitch Fest" at Chicago's 1871 Auditorium

Caps Off National Education Innovation Clusters Convening

Aug 11, 2015, 16:37 ET from LEAP Innovations

CHICAGO, Aug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a "Shark Tank"-style event, Chicago's edtech talent will be showcased on a national stage Wednesday evening, August 12, at the Chicago Education Innovation Pitch Fest, organized by LEAP Innovations and Mozilla's Hive Learning Networks with guests from the U.S. Department of Education. It's the Chicago stop on a national tour promoting the U.S. Department of Education's recently released Ed Tech Developer's Guide.

The Education Innovation Pitch Fest, taking place at Chicago's tech hub, 1871, will showcase some of these innovative technology solutions. Edtech companies will pitch their offerings to a panel of national and local experts, including individuals from the U.S. Department of Education, iZone NYC, Sterling Partners, GSV Advisors, and the Digital Youth Network.  Pitching companies include ForAllBackpack, GetSet, The Graide Network, Infiniteach, RideW/Me and Planet Labs.

The Pitch Fest caps off two days of collaboration at Digital Promise's national Education Innovation Clusters Convening, a gathering of educators, policy–makers, investors, foundations and researchers representing over 90 organizations from more than 30 regions around the country. Co-hosted by LEAP Innovations, and with guests from the U.S. Department of Education, the convening will enable these thought leaders and practitioners to share best practices for creating powerful and innovative cross–sector collaborations.

"Education practitioners and policy-makers are increasingly recognizing that innovation clusters can be powerful accelerants for the kinds of innovation and dynamism that are necessary to create durable change in how schools go about their work," said Steven Hodas, the Innovation Cluster Lead for Digital Promise.

"Staying in our silos isn't working," said Richard Culatta, director of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. "Despite increasing graduation rates, too many students are still left out of high-quality learning opportunities.  We need innovative solutions and new partners to help solve the big problems in education."

"The potential of adaptive technologies to advance teaching and learning in this country is enormous, and Chicago is quickly becoming a hub for this work," said Phyllis Lockett, CEO of LEAP Innovations. "At LEAP, our overall mission is to bridge what we're seeing as a big gap between education and innovation to help accelerate learning for every student. By working together with — and learning from — other cities across the U.S, we can really begin to impact outcomes for this and future generations of learners."

"We're inspired by the transformational role that technology can play in helping educators overcome persistent challenges towards a more connected learning landscape," said Sam Dyson, director of Hive Chicago. "At Mozilla, we're dedicated to achieving universal Web literacy and Hive Networks in cities around the world advance this goal by engaging and embedding educators — and their students — deeply into the educational technology innovation process. The companies at this Pitch Fest represent that spirit."

Hosting these national events continues LEAP Innovations' work to make Chicago a leader in education innovation. LEAP was recently awarded a $5.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lead a national education innovation program. LEAP also recently announced $4 million in funding to create new, personalized-learning-focused public schools in Chicago.

Powered by LEAP Innovations and Hive Chicago

Wednesday, August 12
6:00 - 6:30 PM Registration and Networking
6:30 - 8:00 PM Program

1871 Auditorium
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212
Chicago, IL 60654

Pitching companies:

Expert panelists:

  • Kara Chesal, iZone
  • Kenyatta Forbes, Fiske Elementary School
  • Nichole Pinkard, Digital Youth Network
  • Courtney Reilly, GSV Advisors
  • Katrina Stevens, U.S. Department of Education
  • Shoshana Vernick, Sterling Partners

Launched in spring 2014, LEAP Innovations bridges the gap between education and innovation for teachers and students in pre-K through college. The nonprofit helps educators reimagine school to personalize instruction based on each student's skills, interests and goals, and helps bring technology into classrooms. Headquartered at 1871, Chicago's incubator for digital startups, LEAP also helps companies address unmet needs in education. LEAP's mission is to exponentially advance teaching and learning in and out of the classroom so all students have equal opportunity to reach their potential. For more, go to leapinnovations.org.

Hive Chicago, a network of 64 member organizations, is one of Mozilla's Hive Learning Networks. We prepare youth to thrive in school, work, and civic life by empowering educators to build connected learning experiences and teach the digital literacy skills essential for young people to discover and shape their world. In Chicago, we work to transform the local learning landscape by identifying and addressing the persistent challenges that educators face in their day-to-day work. Best practices and innovative learning experiences in one Hive city are shared globally to inform educators in every Hive city.

Digital Promise is a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education in order to improve the opportunity to learn for all Americans. Through its work with educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and leading thinkers, Digital Promise supports a comprehensive agenda to benefit lifelong learning and provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy.

The mission of the Office of Educational Technology (OET) is to provide leadership for transforming education through the power of technology. OET develops national educational technology policy and establishes the vision for how technology can be used to support learning.  OET supports the President's and Secretary's priorities by:

  • Promoting equity of access by ensuring all learners are connected to broadband internet.
  • Supporting Future Ready educators and a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • Leading cutting-edge research in learning analytics and data to provide new types of evidence and customize and improve learning.

OET is part of the Office of the Secretary of Education and as such works in collaboration and partnership with all other ED offices relating to effective use of technology to support learning. OET is also the primary office for outreach to the developer community.

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